Hey, in case you missed it on Sunday, the Toronto Raptors won!
And guess what? Tonight and Thursday, they have a really good chance of winning again!
Yes, the Charlotte Hornets are in town for a two-game set between teams outside of the playoff picture, but hoping to claw their way back into position.
For the Raptors, it’s a golden opportunity — and one that’s necessary to take advantage of given the time of the year and their position in the standings. No matter which side of the tank discussion you’re on, we can all agree that a split or two losses to the Hornets would be catastrophic for Toronto’s chances at a play in spot. (If that’s good news for you, pipe down! We’re feeling hopeful today.)
The big advantage the Raptors have right now, and it can’t be talked about enough, is their health. Nick Nurse hasn’t meddled with a tried and true method of getting a struggling offense to spark, which is to start his five best players on a consistent basis. With Gary Trent Jr. in the starting five, the Raptors have finally started to put points on the board in a consistent manner. In Sunday’s win over Portland, the bench did just enough too, as Christian Koloko had eight points, marked a +20 and led a 21-3 team advantage in bench points. Even better, none of the Raptors starters played over 40 minutes, with Pascal Siakam playing the most at 38.
It’s a recipe for success if there ever was one, and hopefully the Raptors can start to grind their way towards replication. The schedule is kind. After these two against the lowly Hornets, the Raptors finish their home stand against the Hawks followed by a back-to-back starting in New York and finishing in Milwaukee.
Can this team take advantage of that opportunity? Let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam
Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels, P.J. Washington, Mason Plumlee
Toronto Raptors – Otto Porter Jr. (out – foot)
Charlotte Hornets – Gordon Hayward (doubtful – hamstring), Kelly Oubre Jr. (out – hand)